5 Tasty Eggplant Recipes For a Tight Budget

letouj/CC BY 2.0

Call it what you will – brinjal, aubergine, melongene, brinjal or guinea squash – the many-monikered eggplant is a thing of beauty. Although many children suffer involuntary shudders at the thought of it, we adults know the secret – it’s a succulent and versatile vegetable that can turn a group of otherwise mundane ingredients into superstars.

And not only is eggplant scrumptious, but its extraordinary antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber land it on countless healthiest-foods compendia. EWG’s latest, Good Food on a Tight Budget, lists eggplant as one of the most economical and healthiest vegetables a consumer can purchase. Go, eggplant!

So now that it’s high season for this exuberant beauty from the nightshade family, and it’s begining to gracefully colonize gardens and market shelves everywhere, it seems a prudent time to talk eggplant recipes.

1. Eggplant and Roasted Red Pepper Stack

Emma Alter/CC BY 2.0

Here's how to turn kale, eggplant, jalepeno, basil, roasted marinated red peppers and rice into a delicious little pile of summer: Eggplant and Roasted Red Pepper Stack

2. Green Feast Ratatouille

Chef Ryan Wilson of Five Crowns and SideDoor will be featuring this divine ratatouille for the Green Feast. If you’ll be in Southern California in September and are lucky enough to attend the five-course farm-to-table dinner created to benefit The Ecology Center, you can taste it from the chef himself. Otherwise, here’s the how-to.

  • 3.5 lbs Japanese eggplant
  • 5 red onions
  • 2.5 lbs sweet italian peppers
  • 3.5 lbs summer squash
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/8 cup red wine vinegar
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup fresh marjoram
  • 1/4 cup fresh thyme
1. Preheat an oven to 300F degrees. 2. Dice the eggplant. Small dice the red onion. Seed and small dice the peppers and dice the squash. Slice the peeled garlic cloves. 3. Separately, toss all of the vegetables in olive oil and season with salt. 4. On parchment lined sheet trays, roast the eggplant, squash and peppers for 20-30 minutes until tender and just beginning to color. 5. Meanwhile, in a large, wide, heavy bottom rondeau our in the olive oil. Add the sliced garlic cloves and turn the heat to medium. Saute for 5-7 minutes until the garlic is simmering and fragrant. 6. Once the vegetables are par-cooked, add to the rondeau. Cook down for an additional 20- 30 minutes or until the vegetable are beginning to break down and the flavors and melding together. 7. Re-season with salt, and vinegar. Add the herbs and stir to combine. Spread onto a parchment lined sheet tray and refrigerate.

3. Smoky Marinated Grilled Eggplant

Photo: Kelly Rossiter/CC BY 2.0

Kelly adds smoked paprika, honey, and cumin to the mix for her marinated grilled eggplant, resulting in a slightly sweet, spicy and smoky marinade that does wonders to the purple globes.

4. Madras Curry with Eggplant

Vegan Feast Catering/CC BY 2.0

This recipe for Vegan Feast Catering's Madras Curry with Eggplant provides an added bonus with the instructions for a homemade curry paste that will last for a few weeks, and after used in this lip-smacking curry, can be employed in a number of other culinary jobs as well.

5. Roasted Eggplant Soup with Goat Cheese

SaijaLehto/CC BY 2.0

There's a special alchemy that happens when vegetables meet the oven and are roasted into caramelized versions of their former selves. Flavors deepen and texture transforms – and eggplant takes to roasting especially well, as evidenced by Smitten Kitchen's delirious roasted eggplant soup.

Tags: Cooking | Fruits & Vegetables | Recipes | Vegan | Vegetarian

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